Even the Best Scanning Electron Microscope Grows Old: Here’s the Lifespan of a SEM

Your SEM is a vital part of the work you do — but even the best scanning electron microscope isn’t immune to getting old. Can your SEM stand the test of time? Is it already showing its age? How do you determine when it’s time to make a change?

Let’s take a closer look at the typical lifespan of a SEM, and what you can do to extend it.

How Long Does a SEM Typically Last?

One of the biggest reasons a SEM typically gets “too old” is simply because the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) stops servicing it. When you purchase a new SEM, the manufacturer will guarantee support for a number of years. After that time, you’ll receive an end of service letter notifying you that your SEM is no longer being supported. This means limited maintenance, labor, and parts when you need it. While this doesn’t automatically mean that your SEM can’t do its job, it does make it much harder to address issues as they come up.

How Do You Know if Your SEM Is Reaching the End of Its Life?

What should you look out for with your own SEM? Here are just a few factors you should take into consideration when thinking about the expected lifespan of your SEM.

    • Service contracts. When was your SEM purchased? How long is it covered? If it’s been a few years, you could be receiving an end of support letter from your OEM soon. While this doesn’t mean that your SEM is dead, it does complicate things. Are there service contractors who are still willing to work on your SEM to provide routine maintenance and emergency services?
    • Image quality. Can you effectively perform your job with the image resolution your SEM can provide? Even if your machine isn’t breaking down, if its best performance doesn’t match your needs, you may need to find another option.
    • New applications. Are there new tasks you need to perform that are outside the scope of your current SEM? Again, this may not mean that your SEM is on its way out, but you may need to find a way to increase its performance.
    • Ease of operation. How difficult is your SEM to operate or train a new user? A complex system that is difficult to learn or understand may be making your work more difficult day after day.
    • Operator console and electronics. When a SEM does begin to break down, it is very rarely the column that is the problem. Instead, the operator console, PC architecture, and electronics begin to show their age and are the most prone to failure. Check in on your electronics. Are they performing as expected, or is it time for a change?

The Best Scanning Electron Microscope Upgrade: SEMView8000 by SEMTech Solutions

We believe the best scanning electron microscope for your application is your existing SEM. Our mission is to prolong the life of your current SEM, keeping it working its best for as long as possible, at a price point that doesn’t break the bank. We support SEMs with a lifespan of 40 years or more, and our vast experience has shown the SEM column will last a lifetime if it is upgraded with the latest technology.

Time after time, we’ve seen the operator’s console is the item most prone to failure. From that observation, we created a new solution: the SEMView8000, a universal operator’s console that can upgrade any SEM column.

What are the advantages of SEMView8000?

  • Improved performance & expanded capabilities. With the SEMView8000, you can get better performance from your SEM than ever before. Our upgraded electronics and operator console can capture 8k x 8k images, offering you a more detailed view of anything and everything. Not only can this help maintain your existing applications, but it can also expand your capabilities, allowing you to use your existing SEM column for new and exciting applications.
  • Ease of use & reduced footprint. SEMView8000 runs on Windows 11 with an intuitive, easy-to-use console. Experienced technicians can begin working with the SEMView8000 console immediately. Also, with lab space at a premium, our console will easily fit in your existing environment. 
  • Service & maintenance. SEMTech Solutions offers service and maintenance contracts to all of our customers. With strategic service locations around the United States and Europe, our team is always nearby. If issues arise with your SEM, we will dispatch an expert to your site and resolve the problem.

Ready to Get Started?

Just because your SEM is aging doesn’t mean that it’s at the end of its life. SEMTech Solutions is here to provide a technology upgrade. We want to make the most of your existing SEM column. Could SEMView8000 extend your SEM’s lifespan? Let’s find out together. Contact us to get started.